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Conrad flies to 10,000m best in Finland

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By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s versatile Nolene Conrad was on fire in Finland this weekend as she notched a personal best over 10,000 metres on the track.

Cape Town-based Conrad is scheduled to run four track races on this European trip.

And she got off to a flying start as she won the 25-lapper at the Kestavyysjuoksukarnevaalit meeting in Jamsa, the centre of Finnish aeronautics.

She stopped the clocks at 34min 12.53sec, which was comfortably inside the 34.26.63 she ran to win the national title in Stellenbosch two years ago.

Her victory margin was more than 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Janica Makela (34:56.74).

But it wasn’t easy going for the little athlete. ‘It was very difficult conditions, hot and windy, and we all struggled,’ she said on arriving back at her German base.

‘I was aiming for a low 33min time, but running alone it was very difficult. I knew beforehand that it wasn’t a strong field, so I just went out on my own and tried to run even splits.’

And the KPMG club athlete surprised even herself. ‘I actually only realised afterward that I ran a personal best.’

She thinks there’s still room for improvement. ‘I can definitely run a lot faster if I get a pack, but I’m not sure when my next 10,000m will be. Right now, my next run is a 5000m in Belgium on 8 July.

‘I’m excited for that because I can feel I’m in great shape so we’ll just see if I can go sub-16min. I’m also hoping for a race in Switzerland, just waiting for confirmation.’

And Conrad, who will be back in SA for her 32nd birthday later this month, took time to thank those who made it possible for her to live her dream.

‘We don’t get a lot of support to get to race in Europe, so I’m very grateful to KPMG, the Endurocad Academy, WP Athletics and Kelfords Somerset West, who all helped make this trip possible. I’m hugely appreciative of their efforts.’


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